Student fee collected, being held in limbo

By By Chris Mumford

By Chris Mumford

A $1.34 per semester increase in student publication fees8212;intended at least in part for a long-delayed, still-pending restructuring of student media8212;has already been collected and is being held in limbo.

Although a sweeping overhaul of campus student media is still awaiting approval by the Academic Senate and the Board of Trustees, U students began paying the increased publication fee this fall, which is now $6 per semester compared with $4.66 a year ago.

The entire $1.34 increase has been withheld in a segregated university account until the changes are implemented, which Randy Dryer, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said might not be until January. The Academic Assembly and Trustees are set to vote on the measure in October.

Dryer said the publication fee would have been increased regardless of the restructuring, but also said that anticipation of the project had been one of the main reasons for the exact amount of the increase.

But because some student media, including The Daily Utah Chronicle, are defined as being enterprise funds8212;meaning that they draw revenue by selling advertising space8212;they would not be allowed to pay for their operating expenses, or pay off any debts, by raising student fees.

In the meantime, the Publication and Broadcast councils are facing these problems with the same budget as last year.

Dryer said that this isn’t a problem because any new student media structure will inherit all of the existing councils’ accumulated debt.

As of the last occasion when the board deliberated over the measure, the restructuring is set to merge the Publication and Broadcast councils, a student public relations agency and Utah Media Sales Group to form a new Student Media Council.

It would have also created a “media advocate” position to oversee student media operation. There was discussion then that the increased publication fee would have helped subsidize the advocate’s pay.

But as of this month, the advocate was removed from the latest draft of the Student Media Council’s policies and procedures, taking one potential use for the students’ money off the table.

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